The urban sprawl of Melbourne is so widespread, that it can often take an hour and half to cross from one side of the city to the next and so like the division between the north and south, there is a east and west division. And although the population of this ever-growing city is heavily skewed to the east and southeast, more than 1.5 million Melburnians call the city’s west home. And for most of us, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The west brings together a clash of cultures so eclectic that it reads like a UN convention. Westies include Italians, Greeks, Maltese, Vietnamese, Polish, Serbs, Macedonian, Croatian, Ethiopian, Sudanese, Chinese, Turkish and Lebanese that bring together a kaleidoscope of smart know-how to make the west far more interesting than the east’s image of the West being a continuous industrial park full of derelicts.
Growing up in this ethnic cultural melting pot of Melbourne’s west has exposed us Gen X and Y kids with an amour that arms with a real world sensibility and street-wise common sense that I don’t think any of us could replace.
Don’t get me wrong, the western suburbs definitely have their problems that stem from the culmination of these cultures. There are the young wog boys who drag race in their hotted up Holden Commodores and then there’s the tragic street fashion of tight black leggings and drag queen-like makeup from the girls and Adidas or Kappa tracksuits from the boys all with matted, gelled, cockatoo-like straightened hair. And who can forget the ‘bewdiful’ western dialect that is ‘nuffin but fully sik man’.
Sure, we may all want to escape it. But when we do move, we never venture too far east and we still retain those street-wise smarts which prepares us for those hurdles that those from the East may not be ready to deal with. We want things done or we don’t agree with what’s been said or done – a Westie will use their background to make it right in a way on a Westie will know how.
And for a Westie that treks over to the other side of the city, the differences are noticed fairly quickly. The ethnic mix disappears almost immediately and the culture overall changes, it’s almost like a different city. Only a Westie will know what I mean.
So would we change our Western suburb upbringing for anything in the world? I’d say no. It’d made us the people we are today. And there’s nuffin wrong wif that awright? It’s fully sik!